CrossFit Is Amazing! Because...

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NOV - ARTICLE BY COACH JAMES

Crossfit is amazing, I confidently believe it’s the best training method for health and fitness, that being said, there’s a world of movement out there that’s largely untapped and there's lots of fitness ripe for the picking if you can open you mind and expand your horizons.

So what would I say is “typical CrossFit”? What would I be likely to see in average box? Or in the Crossfit open? Well we can simplify it down to a handful of movement groups:

-strength sports: weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman

-gymnastics: bodyweight movements

-endurance sports: run, row, ski, bike

Now between these 3 fields we cover a huge scope of high value functional movements, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.....

 

Here are my top 6 “untapped” movements or methods:

 

  1. Windmills

Performed with feet slightly wider than shoulder width - both pointing the same direction, either right or left. Let’s say your pointing to the right, you’ll have a heavy object (typically a kettlebell, but dumbbells, barbells, etc. work well too) in your left hand held overhead. From here you will reach your right hand down to the ground whilst maintain straight back and reasonably stiff legs, then extend back to standing.

 

It’s awesome because.....
 

There are very few movements that simultaneously train strength/flexibility/balance in such depth, it’s a great one for those needing to improve hamstring/hip flexibility and shoulder stability for overhead squats or snatches.

 

  1. Zercher squats

Performed much the same as a front squat only the bar will be held in the crooks of your elbows. So, set the bar up on a rack at about waist height, hook the arms under, crossing the hands over, walk it out and set the feet up at shoulder width, then complete the set of squats down past parallel.

 

It’s awesome because....

It strengthens the legs but also challenges the trunk as it forces you to fight for a really upright position. If we look at the functionality of this movement I like to refer to a conversation I had with one of my athletes some time ago. I was asked: “coach, what’s the point of this? Like, why am I doing this?” To which I replied “have you ever seen a fireman carrying someone out of a burning building, or a parent carrying there injured child?”, my athlete got the picture straight away, it’s the “rescue carry” position. Our body’s are build for a million and one things but the ability to help a person in an emergency situation is probably one of the most important.

 

  1. Turkish Get Ups

Performed by starting on the ground, taking a kettlebell/dumbbell into a locked out position whilst on your back, the using your free arm as the rest of your body to “get up” to a standing position AND returning back to your starting position.

 

It’s awesome because....

Much like the windmill this movement has a beautiful balance of several athletic traits. It took me some time before I truly appreciated what the purpose was to this beast of an exercise. I was doing an introductory Brazilian Jujitsu session, only it wasn’t an intro, I’d somehow got myself in a class with some very experience technicians.....needless to say I got my ass handed to me....for about 40mins, BUT one thing that was a saving grace for me was that I was fluent in Turkish Get Ups, I was able to lock my arm out between my opponent and myself, drive them off me, and get back to my feet. Having an ability to get your arms, legs, and trunk to communicate and work in unison is pivotal to many movements especially the Olympic lifts.

 

4. Band pull throughs

 

Performed by tying off a thick band low in a squat rack, then tie off another back to the end of the other band so you end up with 1 long band. From there were basically going to do a very similar movement to a kettlebell swing. We’ll face away from the racks holding the band through our legs so it’s pulling back behind us. Hinging at the hips with a straight back getting into a deep hamstring stretch, and snapping forward with the hips.

It’s awesome because....

It’s a nice simple set up and develops a lot of strength/power/ flexibility through the rear chain making deadlifts, cleans, and snatches stronger.

 

5. Object carry/loading

 

Often a staple at the world's strongest man competitions, this is performed quite simply by lifting up a heavy object, carrying it, and placing it up in to a shelf, nothing to it....right???? Here’s the fun part, you can use any object, any distance and any height of shelf. For example I could lift an atlas stone, carry it 10m, and put it up on a shelf at waist height. I could also lift a 3m log, carry it 100m, and put it on a shelf above head height, the variations are limitless.

 

It’s awesome because.....

There is almost no other combination of movement that is more useful for real life, its functionality is unparalleled in its capacity to strengthen arms, legs, hips, back, trunk, and grip. When the zombie apocalypse happens, this is a “go-to” movement to be training.

 

6. Climbing/Parkour/ninja warrior

 

Since the world was introduced to popular television show "Ninja Warrior" there's been an increase in fitness facilities dedicated to an exciting new breed of movement training based around high speed acrobatic bodyweight movement. "Free-running" or "Parkour" as it is now more commonly known as, is a sport in which people run/jump/flip/spin and traverse there way over/under/though/across any number of obstacles. What has this got to do with CrossFit? it's functional, it's high intensity, and it's constantly varied.....it's actually CrossFit through and through

 

It's awesome because it develops your ability to be explosive, agile, flexible, accurate, and flexible, as well as improving reaction time - something pivotal to all sports. Some examples of how you could incorporate this into your CrossFit routine would be to start doing things like climbing across the rig, swinging from ring to ring, running and hurdling boxes, hopping from plate to plate, or swinging from rope to rope.

 

Sadly these amazing secret weapons don’t normally pop up in your everyday WOD but are definitely worth throwing into the mix, as the great man Greg Glassman said “routine is the enemy”, GET OUT THERE AND MIX IT UP